Narrative of Four Journeys into the Country of the Hottentots, and Caffraria
Later known as an administrator in Australia and founder of one of Tasmania's earliest settlements, William Paterson (1755-1810) was an army officer, naturalist and friend of Joseph Banks. Keenly interested in botany from childhood, in 1777 he was dispatched to Cape Colony on an expedition to collect plant specimens, many of which remain in the Natural History Museum. His accounts, published in 1789, are the observations and impressions of one of the first Europeans to venture into the south-east of modern-day South Africa. On his return to England he brought with him the skin and skeleton of a giraffe, which remained on show in the British Museum until the early twentieth century. He writes clearly and engagingly of the people, flora and fauna, assuring the reader that the work is 'a series of facts, noted down upon the spot, without any after additions'.